Things to Do to Avoid Being Easily Hacked Online

It is more difficult to recover when you are hacked than it is to prevent being attacked. The fact is that if you don't care about protecting yourself from being hacked; attackers will hack your account and protect it from you. So far you use the internet, cybersecurity should not be a second option for you, it should be part of your priority. The surge in cyberattacks this year might just be the beginning, next year might even be worst. This is why we all should embrace cybersecurity knowledge.

It is more difficult to recover when you are hacked than it is to prevent being attacked.

The fact is that if you don’t care about protecting yourself from being hacked; attackers will hack your account and protect it from you.

So far you use the internet, cybersecurity should not be a second option for you, it should be part of your priority.

The surge in cyberattacks this year might just be the beginning, next year might even be worst.

This is why we all should embrace cybersecurity knowledge.

In this post, we will highlight common ways you can avoid being hacked by pointing out the medium through which most of our attacks come.

1. Be Attentive to What Happens on Your Browser

One tool the majority of us use is the browser. If you have ever used the internet to visit a website, then you have used a browser. Whether it is Chrome, Firefox, Opera Mini, or Safari you are using, they are all browsers and you should be attentive to what happens while you use them.

Every computer device you use comes preinstalled with a browser. This is one major reason it is a profitable attack surface for hackers because many are using it.

One thing you should pay attention to while using a browser is pop-ups. These are those warnings, permission request, or informational window that comes up on your screen while you are using the browser. Make sure you read them carefully before clicking on them.

Malicious websites always tend to gain access to your computer or phone resources through a browser. Thereby hijacking your computer through the browser.

Another thing to pay attention to is your browser redirect and auto opening of a new tab. Whenever you are using the browser, pay attention to the address bar. That is the area where you typed in the website address you visited.

Whenever the address you typed in turns to something very different from the address you typed in; just know that you have been redirected to another website. Close the browser tab and retype the website address again.

Be careful also about typing your login credentials on a website that automatically opened on a new tab in your browser; despite if it is a Gmail or Facebook website that opened.

The final thing you should pay attention to is your browser update. Some attacks might not require your permission to highjack your computer or phone, or before you can get hacked. For this reason, there may be no browser pop-up.

Some attacks will get hold of your browser once you visit the malicious website in the browser. Therefore, it is advisable you update your browser always. It will reduce the ease of you being hacked through the browser.

2. Reduce Your Attacks Surface

Attack surfaces are means through which an attacker can get to you. Reducing these surfaces will help you to reduce what you have to protect in terms of security.

There is no need to fill your phone or computer with applications you rarely use, except if you will be able to keep track of its security updates.

The more apps you have installed on your device, the more room you have for attackers to get your device hacked. Leave only the applications you use regularly on your device and learn to install applications when it is needful.

Always be mindful of what those that borrow your device does with it. Better still, you can create a guest account on your device for those lending it. Remember humans are also an attack surface. Your friends can be socially engineered into doing unbelievable things with your device. Because they will not be cybersecurity conscious like you while using your device.

Related Post: Computer Security Benefits of Multiple User Accounts

Also, be mindful of shoulder surfing. Don’t enter your login details while in a public place or transport. Someone might be watching through your shoulder what you are typing.

Learn to delete your details from platforms you are no longer using. If you once used Facebook and you don’t want to use it again; try and delete your details from Facebook, don’t just abandon the account.

Related Post: 6 Social Engineering Countermeasures

3. Turn Off Automatic Connection to WiFi and Avoid Using Weak Password to Protect Your Hotspot

If you are going to create a wireless network for yourself, make sure you protect it with a strong password.

This might be the mobile hotspot you use to access the internet from your computer or your router.

The reason being that your password will be easily cracked and your data sniffed by an attacker.

An attacker with the help of some free tools can crack your WiFi password and sniff data packets from your network on transit. This not only exposes your data if not encrypted, but it can also expose your public IP address to the attacker and the platforms you are visiting through the network.

Avoid turning on an automatic connection to the WiFi network on your device. If your system connects to a WiFi network the moment you power it on, whether it is to your personal Hotspot or office network. There is a tendency that an attacker can take advantage of that.

One thing attackers do well is to create a rogue WiFi network that has the same name and password as networks on their range. Making it possible for your system to detect them and Connect to them as a genuine network. This can then help the attacker to watch your traffic and the websites you visit thereby sniffing your data.

It is advisable you turn off WiFi on your device when you are not using it. This is to avoid your device from connecting automatically to a network while you are not aware.

4. Never Follow Links You Never Solicited For; Verify Links Before Clicking

Links are one way through which many get hacked. I placed it as the fourth here not because it is the least important, but because if you have been following our posts, you will know we talk a lot about that.

One thing you should know is that opening a link someone sent to you on your browser is enough for a hacker to take over your browser and from it your computer. Sometimes you don’t even need to click on anything, depending on how vulnerable your browser is.

Another thing is that an attacker can use a pop-up to request permission to your phone or computer camera through links. This can help the attacker take pictures of you with your phones or computer without you knowing.

Gone are days when you will say because a link has HTTPS then it is safe. Many HTTPS links are just as malicious as the HTTP’s own. HTTPS only protects you from data eavesdropping on transit, and not from malicious payloads.

Whenever you receive or see a link that you did not request through mail or social media chats, please don’t click on it without verifying first. By verifying I mean going outside where the link is and open a browser and search for the information about mail or message.

Let assume you receive a chat message or email from a friend with a link that the government is giving out money or grant, or that a company is running a promo. Please don’t follow the link by clicking on it.

Instead, open your browser and search for the company’s name on Google or any search engine. Go to the official website for the company or government, to know if there is news about that on their website. Then perform the registration on their official website, instead of following the link.

Even if you receive a mail or text message that your social media or Bank account had been hacked or whatever. And the information on the mail or message is telling you to follow a link to rectify it; please don’t. Instead, open your bank or social media official app or website yourself to check if it true and update your password there.

Take this serious, and remember to educate others.

5 Use Strong Passwords and Multiple Factor Authentication

It is important you turn on two-factor authentication on every platform you use that has it enabled. You can use SMS two factors, or better still buy a two-factor USB security key.

Protect all your account with unique strong passwords. Always verify website addresses before you type in your login details.

Related Post: 5 Two-Factor Authentication Mistakes You Should Avoid

6. Be Mindful of Where you Download Applications and Files.

One thing you should know is that simply opening a file or trying to install an application can give an attacker access to your device.

Let assume you download an app or a PDF file from an unknown source and you tried installing it and it behaved like it was corrupt. One thing that happens is that such an action may have installed a keylogger on your system without you knowing or that pdf file may have granted an attacker access to your system without you knowing.

You know what it means to have a keylogger install on your system. This makes it possible for an attacker to see things you type on your system keyboard.

One thing hackers do is to embed payloads on an application or file and send them out to victims. The solution is to avoid downloading your applications or files from a source you don’t trust.

This is also the reason why you should be careful about downloading files that comes with an email attachment if you didn’t request it.

Check out other post on this blog to learn more on how to stay safe online.

Related Post: How You Get Hacked- Basic Cybersecurity

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